By Mugo Kibati
Vision 2030 envisions a Kenya where justice and prosperity are available to all. Security is a crucial pre-requisite for this.
In a society free from danger and fear, the cost of business is low and investors are confident to plan long term.
Citizens also enjoy economic opportunity, fulfilling political engagement and a high quality of day-to-day life. But none of this is possible without a strong law and justice system.
Kenya has made substantial investments in this area. An unprecedented budgetary allocation is resourcing comprehensive and radical judicial reform. The high-impact Judicial Transformation Unit has been established and a detailed strategic plan presented to the public.
These efforts include vetting of judges, competitive recruiting and public interviews to ensure that Kenya’s best legal minds and most passionate reformers are motivated to join the judiciary.
Professional development initiatives encompass increased compensation, sustained exposure to global best practice and a revamped internal training program.
To ensure efficient service delivery, case management is being computerised and community-based courts are being established towards decentralisation.
All these programs aim to reduce the public experience of the justice system as remote and impersonal. Indeed, in public surveys, Kenyans already rate judicial reforms as highly credible.
To ensure this massive investment bears fruit, police reform must be expedited in tandem with judicial transformation. The benefits of the judicial reforms will be compromised if similarly robust and aggressive efforts are not made towards the reform of the police service.
It would make little sense to establish ultra-modern courts while police facilities and systems remain decrepit.
Progress has been made. The Police Oversight Authority is in place and the National Police Service Commission Act has been passed and assented to. Additionally, significant funding for the CCTV surveillance project in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru has been availed.